Interstate 285 overlays U.S. 52 north from I-85 at Lexington 23.25 miles to I-40 on the south side of Winston-Salem. I-285/U.S. 52 bypass Lexington to the west along with U.S. 29/70. Business Loop I-85 formerly accompanied the freeway with U.S. 29/70 north 4.15 miles from I-85 to an older freeway bypass of Downtown. Beyond Lexington, I-285/U.S. 52 combine with NC 8 at Bethesda. Old U.S. 52 parallels the freeway through Welcome and Midway as I-285, U.S. 52 and NC 8 advance north into the south suburbs of Winston-Salem. U.S. 52/NC 8 extend north from I-40/285 along a freeway to Downtown Winston Salem.
Interstate 285 North Carolina Guides
Established in 2004 as a North Carolina Strategic Highway Corridor, signs for I-285 began appearing along U.S. 52 in Fall 2018. Improvements brought the U.S. 52 freeway up to Interstate standards, which mostly involved expanding narrow shoulders. Upon completion of this work, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) received approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to designate Interstate 285 on February 15, 2018. NCDOT originally petitioned AASHTO with the Interstate 185 designation for this corridor.
I-285 will eventually be extended further north through Winston-Salem along U.S. 52 to the future interchange with I-74 east and I-274 west at Rural Hall. Construction on the exchange started in 2019 with a $134 million contract awarded by September 2018. Work runs through Fall 2022.1